Police insists vigilante can only operate with police supervision
The Kogi State Police command has indicated that vigilante groups in the state can only operate under the supervision of the Nigerian Police, not as an independent security outfit, as that can endanger the peace and security of the people.
The state Commissioner of Police, Wilson Inalegwu, speaking at a press conference in his office in Lokoja, spelt out the rules for the operations of vigilante groups in the fight against insecurity to complement the Police.
He spoke against the background of an alarm by a deputy governorship candidate in the November 2015 election, James Faleke, alleging the recruitment of a new version of Boko Haram by Governor Yahaya Bello under the guise of vigilante group.
Faleke, during a telephone interview in Lokoja, had express concern that Bello, who has been fighting security, was also creating future security issues through the training a vigilante group.
Faleke had appeal to the governor that in as much as he was dealing with security issues he should stop breeding future problem for the State in the issue of vigilante that he was training.
“I learnt he is using the army to train 1500 youths which he calls vigilante and he gives them guns, I don’t know whether he would be able to retrieve the guns from these people. He should be more careful and more purposeful.”
He said it is dangerous to train hooligans in the name of vigilante, saying that was how Boko Haram started in Borno State when politicians armed civilians and thugs with dangerous weapons, which they could not retrieve at the end of the elections.
But Inalegwu explained: “The rule for the vigilante members is that at least before they go out, they must go in the presence of two Police personnel. Vigilante groups don’t operate alone; they operate in company of the Police.
“The level of arms they are authorised to use is stick and clubs, which they must deposit at the Police station at the end of the day and when they resume, they take everything under Police watch. That is the procedure.”
He promised to look into the issue, based on the allegation, and later issue a press statement to guide Kogi people.